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Sorropta Canal and the Changinola River

Nine miles in length and joining the Carribean Sea and Changuinola River, the Sorropta Canal is one of my favorite places to photograph birds in Panama. I first visited the canal on an expedition lead by Dr. Peter Lahanas of the Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (ITEC) and later I explored it from the comfort of a two-person canoe.

Cut straight across the marshy Sorropta Peninsula in mainland Panama, the canal served water taxis from the port in Almirante on their route to the Bocas Islands. That was all before the terrible “Hundred-years Storm” that struck in the spring of 2009 when fallen trees combined with other debris tore from the forests to clog up the canal, making it impassable. Today, abandoned by most boats, it has become a thriving habitat for many resident and migratory birds.

Native, Canoe, Sorropta Canal, fog
A native Panamanian paddles his canoe down the Sorropta Canal
Juvenile, Mangrove Swallow, Tachycineta a. albilinea
Juvenile Mangrove Swallow (Tachycineta a. albilinea)
Great Egret, Ardea alba, Tall Grass, Sorropta Canal
A great egret (Ardea alba) in tall grass
Spectacled Caiman, Caiman crocodilus, Juvenile
Juvenile Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus)
Mirrored Tree, Reflection
A tree is mirrored in the canal's waters
Roseat Spoonbill Ibis, Platalea ajaja
Rare to this part of Panama, a Roseate Spoonbill Ibis (Platalea ajaja) poses atop a falled tree.
American Purple Gallinule, Juvenile, Porphyrio martinica
A juvenile american purple gallinule (Porphyrio martinica) walks across vegetation on the surface of te water in the Soropta Canal
Tropical Kingbird, Tyrannus melancholicus
A Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) on the Sorropta Canal
Amazonian Kingfisher, Chloroceryle amazona
An Amazonian kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona) sits in a tree overlooking the waters of the canal
Bird Nest, Sorropta Canal
A large bird nest in a small tree
Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Nyctanassa violacea, Juvenile
A juvenile Yellow-Crowned (Nyctanassa violacea) night heron
Northern Jacana, Jacana spinosa, Lilly Pads
A Northern Jacana (Jacana spinosa) peeks out from behing lilly pads on the Sorropta Canal
Explorer, Rim Light, Silouette
An explorer looks ahead and shields his eyes form the setting sun during an expedition through the Sorropta Canal
Sunset, Canal
The sun sets over the waters of the Sorropta Canal